T.A.M.J. van Amelsvoort
Professor van Amelsvoort is Professor of Transitional Psychiatry and Consultant Psychiatrist at Maastricht UMC. After finishing her medical studies in Rotterdam (1991), she worked as a medical and scientific advisor in Basel (Switzerland, 1991-1993) and as a medical doctor in Luxemburg (1993-1994). Subsequently, she trained as an academic psychiatrist at The Maudsley Hospital / Institute of Psychiatry in London (UK, 1994-2001). She has had a longstanding interest in neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychosis and neurodevelopmental disorders, with a special interest in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) which she has been studying since 1997. She obtained her PhD in 2004 at the University of Amsterdam. Since 2012 she is working at The Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Maastricht University Medical Centre, where she leads the Dutch adult 22q11DS clinic and with a special focus on the transition from adolescence to adulthood in both her clinical and academic work. She is co-founder of @ease, the Dutch variant of the successful Australian Headspace, an innovative youth mental health service.
1. Molecular imaging in psychiatry
Molecular imaging is an expensive and invasive technique, however this method is extremely valuable in providing us with in-vivo information on human brain neurotransmitter function. Using molecular imaging we have studied several neurotransmitter systems (dopaminergic, cholinergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic), including 2 studies that were funded by ZonMw (Veni, Vidi) on molecular imaging projects studying psychosis and high-risk populations.
2. Mechanistic reserach in genetic syndromes
Genetic syndromes including copy number variant disorders, offer a unique 'genetic first' model to study psychopathology as they are often associated increased risk for psychopathology, including psychosis. We study brain anatomy and function in these relatively homogenic populations. This work has been funded by NIH, Bethlem and Maudsley Research Fund, NARSAD, The Dutch Brain Foundation, Brains Unlimited Pioneer Fund, and Stanford Maternal&Child Health Research Institute. In addition, our work in 22q11DS include some of the first of its kind in 22q11DS e.g. Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Experience Sampling Method, and Molecular Imaging studies. Our longstanding work on 22q11DS has resulted in successful ongoing collaborations including IBBC, ENIGMA22q, MINDDS (https://mindds.eu/), Genes2MentalHealth (https://genes2mentalhealth.com/).
3. Innovation in at risk populations
Mental disorders have an onset early in life, with 75% emerging before 24 years of age. Unfortunately, the current mental health care system fails to match the needs of young people and only 20–30% of young people with a mental disorder receives appropriate and timely care. Youth-friendly mental healthcare like @ease (ease.nl) services can help tackle this by being easily accessible. We investigate the comparative (cost-)effectiveness in terms of increased wellbeing and prevented diease burden involving the young people, and using a multidisciplinary and transdiagnostic approach. Other approaches include ESM to monitor and intervene in daily of young people
4. High risk populations
Early detection and intervention is crucial to optimize treatment and clinical outcome. Monitoring high risk populations provide a useful strategy to identify risk and protective factors. These include people at Ultra High Risk for psychosis, Children of Parents with Mental Illness, Traumatized Youth. Comparison of different high risk populations may helpsubgroup stratification ultimately allowing personalized therapeutic approaches.